A statue is seen in front of a long section of a rustic retaining wall in the garden of the House of the Moralist, which collapsed after heavy rains in Pompeii November 30, 2010. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
“Pompeii collapses spark worry and outrage”
By Philip Pullella
Posted 2010/12/13 at 12:25 pm EST
POMPEII, Italy, Dec. 13, 2010 (Reuters) — Pompeii mayor Claudio D’Alessio does not want to go down in history linked with Pliny the Younger, the Roman who chronicled the destruction of the ancient city nearly 2,000 ago in an eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The collapses sparked charges of official neglect by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right government and calls for the resignation of Culture Minister Sandro Bondi, who has imposed cuts to arts spending as part of austerity measures.
“We must invest in regular maintenance. This does not attract attention but is very necessary,” said Cevoli, adding that removing weeds from roofs and walls is not as enticing as light shows and holograms but it does stop water infiltration.
Cevoli says there have been seven collapses in a year but not all of them have received the publicity they deserved.
Judith Harris, author of the 2007 book “Pompeii Awakened,” said it would be important that sponsors let archaeologists do what they feel is necessary.
“There is no glamour in pigeon control and weed removal but they are necessary,” she said.
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Pigeon droppings have been the source of deterioration and defilement on historic sites across the world. Recent renovations on Italy’s famed Leaning Tower of Pisa included the removal of pigeon droppings which had soiled many of the towers stones. Herculaneum, a lesser known city also buried in Mt. Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 AD was also recently having problems with pigeon droppings wearing away roofs and walls of the ruins. Damage done by bird droppings on a 14th century cathedral ending up costing the city of Milan and extra $7.9m or more in repairs.
Bird droppings are acidic and will eat through paint, and corrode building materials such as stone and metal. Left unattended, affected areas may need restoration or complete replacement. Whether it’s an irreplaceable historic monument, or a contemporary roof or building, it is important to address pigeons or bird problems when they are noticed. The sooner a bird problem is addressed, the easrier it will be to persuade the birds to move on.
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